SDG10 | Youth
November 20, 2017

How can we empower youth with digital skills? Have your say on Universal Children’s Day

By Amanda Third

Current research on children and digital media shows that children are exposed to both increased risks and increased opportunities when they access Internet, apps and social media.

In the 21st century, it is critical that children have necessary training in digital literacy to have the digital skills to minimize risks and to confidently navigate the web to maximize their opportunities.

With the increased availability of new technologies, new trends in online child sexual abuse offences are likely to worsen the threat to children; and the use of new services, such as live streaming broadcasting, have been identified as new ways that offenders are committing abuses and tools that enable the spread of abuse imagery in real-time.

The International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the United Nations specialized agency for Information and Communication Technology (ICTs), works to ensure children are safe when they are online. Partnering with RErights.org from the Western Sydney University in Australia, and in partnership with UNICEF’s Voices of Youth and Digitally Connected, we have launched a public consultation on digital skills for youth.

How can we empower youth with digital skills? Have your say:

For children aged 10-18:
I want to participate and tell what I need!
Deadline: December 23rd, 2017

For adult stakeholders 18+:
I want to promote children’s digital literacy!
Deadline: December 23rd, 2017

Working together to promote digital literacy for children and youth

ITU works as a global convener and facilitator for different stakeholders to come together to discuss, identify and implement solutions towards building a universally available, open, secure and trustworthy Internet.

As the sole facilitator of WSIS Action Line C5 “Building Confidence and Security of ICTs”, ITU is playing an important global effort to protect children online including through the multistakeholder Child Online Protection (COP) Initiative and the ITU Council Working Group on Child Online Protection (CWG-COP).

Several targets in the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) refer to the importance of increased access to ICTs. ICTs can empower young people with information and tools to become active and engaged citizens, and support achievement of the SDGs. It is also essential that children be protected online and learn the safe use of technologies, since increased access also leads to increased risk.

According to ITU’s Measuring the Information Society (MIS) Report, young people are almost twice as networked as the global population as a whole. In developing countries, digital natives are vigorously leading their nation’s Internet use. Within the next five years, the ‘digital native’ population will more than double.

In 2014, ITU Resolution 179 recognized the value of the Council Working Group on Child Online Protection as an important global forum to convene all stakeholder groups to consider, deliberate on, review and formulate result-oriented actions on Child Online Protection. The Group is open to all relevant stakeholders.

An important element of the group is the implementation of a youth online consultation prior to each meeting.  The first two consultations focused on Cyberbullying. The current, third round of the online consultation is asking for your views to advance digital skills and youth empowerment.

RErights Consultation

RErights.org is led by the Young and Resilient Initiative at Western Sydney University in Australia, in partnership with UNICEF’s Voices of Youth and Digitally Connected. It invites young people to explore how their rights relate to their use of digital media and technologies like computers, the Internet and mobile devices.

Since 2016, RErights.org has teamed up with ITU’s Child Online Protection (COP) initiative to launch the ‘Operation Uncool’ consultation inviting young people to share their ideas and experiences.

Over the two rounds of the consultation, Operation Uncool has allowed the Council Working Group Members to consider young people’s opinions and report their concerns to relevant stakeholders so they can reflect young people’s needs in policymaking.

The ITU and RErights work to ensure the right of the child online and “freedom of expression” are respected and guaranteed. This online consultation platform allows children and other stakeholders (adults) to express their views to help facilitate possible valuable experiences for children online.

The third round of the online consultation will focus on digital skills and empowerment. The views will help the ITU determine priority areas to ensure that children have the digital literacy skills and competencies to minimize risks and maximize opportunities online.

We invite you to participate in Operation Toolkit, to share your views and to help promote digital literacy for children and youth.

Additional details can be found here:

For children aged 10-18:
I want to participate and tell what I need!
https://rerights.org/operation/operation-toolkit/
Deadline: December 23rd, 2017

For adult stakeholders 18+:
I want to promote children’s digital literacy!
http://www.itu.int/en/council/cwg-cop/Pages/Fourtheenth.aspx
https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/TLPSL7B
Deadline: December 23rd, 2017

Amanda Third, Associate Professor and Principal Research Fellow, Institute for Culture and Society, Western Sydney University. Amanda’s research focuses on the socio-cultural dimensions of young people’s technology use, with particular emphases on children’s rights in the digital age, the intergenerational dynamics shaping technology practice, and vulnerable young people’s technological engagements.
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ITU is the United Nations' specialized agency for information and communication technology. Any opinions expressed and statistics presented by third parties do not necessarily reflect the views of ITU.

How can we empower youth with digital skills? Have your say on Universal Children’s Day

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